“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” – Diane Ackerman
Children learn the most in both quality and quantity when done naturally through play. This is where board games come in, taking the pressure and frustration out of learning essential topics like math and money by presenting them in a more enjoyable and purposeful format.
Kids need to learn and master so many different concepts throughout childhood in preparation for the adult world. When adults think of learning, it is often thought of as an unpleasant experience of boring lessons, memorization and testing that doesn’t have a real-life purpose. These methods are not always conducive to learning authentic information and understanding important concepts. Math is one of kids’ least-loved subjects for this very reason. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Kids of all ages can benefit from a broad range of board games available that allow them to learn through play. The following board game selection makes learning math and money concepts more fun from preschool to high school.
- Hi Ho! Cherry-o is an excellent game for young children to naturally practice counting, addition and subtraction skills. The concept is simple as each player spins to see how many fruit pieces to pick or remove from their basket. Ages 3-6
- Feed the Woozle is a game for practicing preschool skills, including counting up to 12 during silly and cooperative play. It offers three different play levels to challenge growing children as they work together to feed the Woozle. Ages 3+
- Sum Swamp helps players become more fluent in addition and subtraction as they try to safely cross the swamp. Special spaces like evens, odds and numbers add an extra challenge. Ages 5+
- Cloud Hoppers works on subtraction practice, starting at 50 then counting down, as players embark on a quest to help their alien get down to the ground. Ages 6+
- Buy it Right is a shopping game where players buy, sell and set prices for items using fake money that mimics real coins and cash. Players practice counting out change and learn the value of money during play, with different levels of difficulty possible. Ages 6+
- Mathological Liar is a detective game where players solve mysteries using math. Each player gets a suspect card and must determine if the math in their alibi is correct, meaning innocent, or incorrect, meaning guilty. There are boxes for each grade level from two to six. Ages 6+.
- Three Sticks is a geometry game that operates in a similar way to Scrabble. Players take turns trying to create shapes on a board while using only two sticks of various lengths during each turn. Ages 8+
- Monster Sock Factory is a game to introduce and practice multiplication and division concepts. Players try to determine how many socks to pack and ship from the factory for monsters with different numbers of legs. Ages 8+ but can be adapted to younger players
- Monopoly is a classic game dealing with money and economic concepts. You buy properties, pay rent and manage your money as each player tries to take control. There are countless versions of this game to match a range of ages and interests. The original version is recommended for ages 8+
- The Game of Life teaches how the choices we make affect our finances and life, while surprises can affect even the most well-thought-out plans. Players use practical math skills while learning about lifelong economic impacts, helping kids think about their financial futures. Ages 8+
- Managing My Allowance teaches players about money management and budgeting. Players make choices about how to spend or save the money they earn. The game uses play cash for players to handle as they count out changes to their total and try to save money for college. Ages 8+
- Zeus on the Loose is a fast-paced math game using number cards to climb Mount Olympus and catch Zeus by getting the number total to a multiple of 10. Players use strategy, addition and subtraction while managing other gods and goddesses’ effects along the way. Ages 8+
- Proof! is a game that works for a wide range of ages and abilities, to support mental math practice. The dealer lays down nine cards while players look at the cards to create an equation out of at least three available cards. It can be made more or less challenging with variations on the basic game and can even be played solo. Ages 9+
- The Stock Exchange Game teaches players about the stock market and related concepts during strategy-based play with three play levels of varying difficulty. The game uses play money and stock coins along with extras like world event cards that affect results. Ages 10+
- Prime Climb uses prime numbers, factorization, multiplication and division along with strategy. Players roll the dice, move and draw cards while navigating around other players to get both of their pawns to exactly 101. Ages 10+